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Doctors dodging emergency duty may face jail time

Doctors who refuse to go on duty during a state of emergency declared by the Slovak government could face either a fine or imprisonment. This is how the Health Ministry wants to prevent a repeat of the situation in late 2011 when doctors went on sick leave en masse – providing each other with 'notes'. Furthermore, the Health Ministry would like to make it illegal for doctors to skip emergency duty.

Doctors who refuse to go on duty during a state of emergency declared by the Slovak government could face either a fine or imprisonment. This is how the Health Ministry wants to prevent a repeat of the situation in late 2011 when doctors went on sick leave en masse – providing each other with 'notes'. Furthermore, the Health Ministry would like to make it illegal for doctors to skip emergency duty.

"With respect to the bevy of reports about multiple phoney sick leaves, we've included in the law that dodging such a duty becomes a crime, punishable by a fine or even incarceration if there is harm to someone's health. If, God forbid, there are fatalities, the punishment can be much stricter," Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská told the TASR newswire after the tripartite session on Monday, January 14. If doctors do not come to work during the state of emergency, they could face fines up to €3,300 or, in the case of a fictitious sick leave, up to €1,500. If during this period a patient suffers harm or dies, the doctor could be sentenced to up to five years in jail.

"Measures like this don't contribute to social peace. I don't think it's helpful when things are addressed by force. We prefer dialogue, instead," said doctors’ LOZ labour union head Peter Visolajský in reaction to the health ministry's initiative.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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